Columbus Day is a big deal in New Jersey. With a large segment of our population having some Italian heritage, we love to celebrate every October.

However, the groups that protest Columbus are getting louder and louder every year, and it had led to a Latino group in Long Branch calling for the removal of a statue.

Walter Alomar, president of the local group Organization for Culture of Hispanic Origins, says the statue is "a reminder of our terror, of our genocide, and we drive by it every day."

The statue was erected in 1961 as a gift from the Amerigo Vespucci Society, an Italian-American club founded in 1875 by seven Italian immigrants in Long Branch.

Joseph Mercadante, a past president of the Amerigo Vespucci Society, said Columbus should stay where he is. “There is a recent bandwagon against Columbus but I don’t think the statue should come down. He was an explorer who made a discovery. It led to our culture today."

It is an interesting debate, reflecting a lot of what is going on in other areas of the country with Confederate statues. What do you think? Is the removal of statues "erasing history", or should we stop honoring people who society begins to think less of?

christopher columbus statue
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

More from 105.7 the Hawk:

More From 105.7 The Hawk